Rome, 30th July 2020 – Today the World Farmers’ Organisation hosted a virtual meeting establishing the WFO Scientific Council. This independent scientific body is composed by 15 scientists, experts and professors from across the globe, with the aim of equipping WFO with the best scientific advice to further enhance the science-sound perspectives of the farmers’ voice in the international debate around agriculture and food systems.

WFO President, Theo De Jager, opened the meeting highlighting the idea behind the creation of a Scientific Council and the crucial role it is going to play. “We need a Council like this to make sure that our discussions and ambitions are answerable to the best available science. We need to scientifically position ourselves in order to take action and provide family farmers of the world with a sustainable future as profitable businesses on a healthy planet for healthy people”.

The meeting saw the participation of the whole distinguished membership of the brand-new Council: Professor Vanni Frajese; Professor Margaret Flaherty of the IÉSEG School of Management, Paris & Business School, Lausanne; Professor Peer Ederer from the Zeppelin University, Switzerland; Professor Daniel Berckmanns  of the  University of Leuven, Belgium; Mashid Dehghan, Investigator of the Department of Medicine McMaster University, USA; Professor Sandro Dernini  at CIHEAM (Mediterranean pattern diet), Italy;  Professor Rob Jackson from Stanford University, USA; Professor Frederic Leroy from the Brussels Free University; Doctor Susan McMillan Team Leader, Communications, Awareness and Advocacy at ILRI, CGIAR; Professor Anne Mottet*, Livestock Development Officer at FAO; Professor Sidi Osho, from Nigeria, Chair of FANRPAN; Professor Geneviève Parent from the Université Laval, Québec, Canada; Professor Angelo Riccaboni, Chair International Assembly of Universities Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Mr Dawie Roodt Director & Chief Economist at Efficient Group Ltd. and at Efficient Select (Pty) Ltd, South Africa; Professor Nina Teicholz, Executive Director of The Nutrition Coalition, USA; Professor James Nelson Blignaut from Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

The distinguished panel gathered today for the first time to exchange views and ideas on how to join knowledge and expertise to

  • Amplify and strengthen the farmers with evidence-based, science-anchored discussions and considerations in order to
  • Advance and extend the role of farmers as scientifically informed agents of change, working hard to solve problems and find solutions to many of the society’s most critical challenges;
  • Value and validate local farmers’ needs while simultaneously translating these perspectives into clear and credible language;
  • Facilitate and accelerate cooperation within and among international scientific bodies for an effective farmer-driven research agenda in agriculture.

* Professor Anne Mottet, Livestock Development Officer at FAO, is for now invited but participation not yet confirmed.